Observe your life, between two breaths.
Breath is a wind, both coming and going.
On this wind you have built your life —
but how will a castle rest on a cloud?
The clouds were near the earth. They were soft and frilly with delicate, gentle edges. If translucence were a hue, then that was theirs.
As I gazed at them, I was captivated by their luminous beauty. Even though my mind was familiar with the fleeting transience of all life, especially clouds, I felt suspended in their presence. It seemed as though eternality was gracing the world in form as a way of remembrance of the imminent kiss of birth and death. They existed, yet just as they arose out of womb of vastness, there they would also return.
These clouds, however, were first seeded in the soil and then unfolded in the sky. They were like flowers known as poppies. Their blossoms are cloudlike and elegantly transcendent, yet vibrantly expressive of the quieter qualities that foster and uphold generations of peacefulness: for example, gentleness, patience, prayerfulness, groundedness and non-greed.
While humans have long held poppies as reminders of the deeper meanings of life, poppies remain as invitations to have the courage to remember the cloudlike nature of all existence. Just like gazing upward into the sky, gazing upon a poppy invites the mind to move in new and fresh patterns, and to release old patterns as easefully as the poppy wilts or the cloud disappears. I hope to learn more from these quiet flowers and hope you will join me.
This practice supports awareness of spaciousness.
- Remove all your electronic devices except the one you are using for this practice.
- Take a few moments to freely move around, inviting your body to fluidly and organically stretch and move. Feel free to sigh or make sounds as you move in new patterns.
- Find a comfortable position – seated, standing, lying. Look around the area where you are. Invite a sense of looking anew, noticing not only the forms and shapes and colors but the areas of spaciousness.
- After a few moments, allow your gaze to softly linger in one of the areas of spaciousness.
- Ideally, this would be upon a field, the sky, or something natural.
- Please no worries if you are in an enclosed space where the options are the floor, a wall, the ceiling or some other constructed spaciousness.
- Note: If you are standing, you might wish to shift your position.
- Linger here, softly gazing into the spaciousness. Imagine you looking from the depth of your being or your heart center.
- If possible, invite an openness to any subtle shifts within your body, breath and awareness. Perhaps you begin to feel a slowing down, more easefulness in your breath, the presence of an underlying peaceful calmness or even the opposite of any of these. There is no right or wrong. This is only a short practice.
- Stand and again stretch and move organically. Invite freedom to move, breath, and express in any way that is emerging.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Find a comfortable seated position and sit quietly for a few moments.
- If comfortable, softly close your eyes, allowing your breath to move in its own organic way.
- Perhaps silently repeat to yourself a few times, “Spaciousness is my eternal friend. She is always there within me and surrounding me. Spaciousness is everywhere, in every being. May we offer one another spaciousness. May we not claim the spaciousness of others. May more compassion and clarity arise from spaciousness.”
- Sit quietly for a few minutes.
- When you are ready, transition back into your day.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 55, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com. KateVogt©2023.